Samuel L. Jackson Clarifies His Black British Actors Comment: “It Was Not a Slam Against Them” + Some Thoughts

Samuel L. Jackson | Hot97

Samuel L. Jackson | Hot 97

UPDATE a day later: The segment of the interview during which he spoke about black British actors working in the USA is only about 2 minutes of an almost 40-minute conversation covering numerous topics; but it’s the segment that’s received the most press coverage, ignoring everything else that’s discussed in the interview, which is unfortunate, because he touches on several other issues that are also worthy of coverage.

And so it was expected that he would likely eventually have to address the one item that’s reignited a years-old debate, which he did, speaking with the Associated Press after his critical comments about black British actors playing black Americans on screen quickly went viral yesterday.

Samuel Jackson emphasized that it wasn’t his intent to slam black British actors; his criticism was of the Hollywood studio system: “It was not a slam against them, but it was just a comment about how Hollywood works in an interesting sort of way sometimes.”

He complimented the talent and resumes of black British actors working in the USA, but stated that the opposite is rare, suggesting that it’s a concern for him: “We’re not afforded that same luxury, but that’s fine, we have plenty of opportunities to work… I enjoy their work… I enjoy working with them when I have the opportunity to do that,” he added.

It should be noted that one reason why black American actors aren’t “afforded that same luxury” is because there isn’t exactly a lot of work for black actors in the UK, whether you’re British or American, or elsewhere; which is ultimately why some of them have opted to take their chances in the USA, because there are far more opportunities. There’s just no comparison between the American film industry (the dominant, most prolific in the world) and the UK film industry. The former is about 10 times the size in terms of output and box office of the latter. So it’s all relative.

I really wish this wasn’t a debate. We’re fighting each other for crumbs, instead of uniting to fight a system that practically ensures that we fight each other.

The vast majority of roles for black actors in Hollywood are still going to African American actors. Just take a look at the top 10 grossing American-produced films, as well as TV shows in the USA starring black actors, over the past several years.

One could argue that, regardless of skin color, there may be a reverence for British actors in general, not just specifically black British actors; an inferiority complex if I may. However, unlike white actors, the amount of work available for black actors is severely limited, as a plethora of more than capable actors from of all ethnic groups of the diaspora, compete for a minuscule number of jobs. And thus the disparity is even more blatant than it is among white actors. And Samuel L. Jackson does actually allude to this in the original interview, stating that it’s not just black British actors; there are white British (or European in general) actors being cast in lead roles in big-time Hollywood projects; but this didn’t get as much attention.

An understanding of how the business works would also come in handy here. Without getting too specific or too detailed, not every role is traditionally cast; in some cases, a project may be originated/initiated by an actor who wants to play the lead role in whatever the specific film or TV series is. And then they do the necessary work to see it become a reality.

But a black British “invasion” – as some would like to believe is happening – there is not. The vast majority of roles for black actors in Hollywood are still going to African American actors. Perception is not reality.

Something else to consider here is that, just as some black Americans fume over the casting of non-black american actors in distinctly black American roles, the other side of that coin happens elsewhere. Recall the backlash Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard faced when they played Nelson and Winnie Mandela in 2 different films? Also we repeatedly teased Sanaa Lathan and her accent, when she played a Senegalese love interest to American Matthew Broderick, in the 2009 indie “Wonderful World.” And some black Brits I know weren’t exactly tickled when Don Cheadle played a British man in the “Ocean’s 11” movie franchise.

So the door swings both ways.

Below is yesterday’s post on the interview Samuel L. Jackson gave that ignited this whole thing. I encourage you to actually listen to the whole interview; it’s about 40 minutes long, and they cover a lot of topics. It’s a very good and honest conversation. Don’t get bogged down by the 2-minute segment on black British actors.


You are always guaranteed to get nothing but honesty from Samuel L. Jackson. I’ve had the pleasure of interview him in person just once (leading up to the premiere of “Django Unchained”), and he’s very much the character that you think he is. And that’s what, in part, makes him engaging; in addition to the fact that he’s been in the business for a long time, and has seen and experienced plenty, so he has a lot to say.

And he doesn’t hold back at all in an interview he gave to the New York radio station Hot 97, during which Jackson touched on a variety of industry related issues – specifically those that affect black talent. From expressing his concern for how black women are sometimes portrayed on screen (he singled out Anika Noni Rose in BET’s “The Quad” which did draw criticism from HBCU brass; and Kerry Washington in “Scandal”), to what he feels is an “invasion” (my term) of black British actors, seemingly taking jobs from black American actors (he specifically talks about Daniel Kaluuya being cast as the lead in Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” wondering what an African American actor may have done differently with the role; and he also mentions “Selma” which starred David Oyelowo as MLK), to how much progress black people have made in the film and TV industry, commending the varied representations of black life that we’re seeing more of (he mentions “Moonlight” which he says he loved, and its co-star Mahershala Ali, as well as Issa Rae’s hustle, progress and success), to the evolution the industry has seen in recent years (the various platforms that exist today that didn’t a decade ago), and much more.

It’s actually quite an engaging interview. He says some things that I’m sure will upset some folks and lead to controversy, but when it comes to Samuel L. Jackson, I think that’s expected. Nevertheless, it’s a comprehensive conversation that touches on a myriad of things, including Trump, Jackson’s early days as an actor, the New York versus LA beat, and more.

He also confirms that he’s not in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther movie if that was something you were curious about.

The interview is 36 minutes long. Watch it below:

64 Comments

  1. I was disappointed. I thought Samuel Jackson would be more dialectical and nuanced in his thoughts. It was if he was hesitant to speak from the heart. I could not help but wonder if he was fearful of how the culural gatekeepers would react if he talked about white supremacy and the impact of global capitalism on black people ( what’s in your wallet?). When he talked about his portrayal of Steven in Django he seemed to relish portraying a house nigguz to the point that it was naueating for me. The great artist is often dull and boring without the mask they wear on stage.

    • LOL. You sure as heck missed the point of Jackson’s performance as Steven if you didn’t understand that he wanted to nauseate you. Steven is a vile character that should make your skin crawl and stomach lurch!

  2. Agreed Barbara. Thanks to Sam for keeping it real and speaking on things that it seems NO ONE wants to talk about nowadays…

  3. I’ve been speaking on this for awhile. Imagine if the three leads of Hidden Figures were British actors? Then people might understand the consternation some people have about so many Brits being given roles as African Americans. If they can’t find work in England maybe they should FIGHT like we did to get work in Hollywood instead of just moving here and stealing roles.

    • @Peggy: You make an excellent point about “fighting” in one’s own country to have the same opportunities in one’s own country. And that is across the board, for all industries, not just Hollywood.

      The British v. American debate, however, is complicated by many factors that include the way in which actors, of all hues, are trained in the UK, versus here (see below links for three articles on these differences).

      The issue is more emotional for blacks than whites because our history is one of marginalization in which we are in constant battle to prove that we are not “inferior” to whites. And while a white actor here or there may lose a part to a Brit there are a million other jobs out there that he could potentially book – regardless of how well trained he is. That’s not the case for black actors.

      That said, particularly when it comes to the interpretation of stories deeply rooted in our real history (aka “Hidden Figures,” “Selma,” or “Loving,”) I do believe general audiences, not just industry folk, are paying attention to who the actors are in these portrayals.

      I agree had the protagonists, even one, in “Hidden Figures” been British the movie would not have done as well at the box office or received all of the well-deserved recognition that it received. The combination of such an amazing story, true story, about America combined with the strong acting chops of Octavia Spencer, Taraji Henson and Jonelle Monae was key to its success.

      “Hidden Figures” has done nearly triple the box office numbers of “Selma.” And it may, at least in part, have something to do with the two British leads. Who knows. But it didn’t get near the love by the public or the Academy as “Hidden Figures.”

      “Loving” received decent critical acclaim, however, people, as in the general audience, weren’t running to the box office to see it. I believe it’s partially because most Americans, regardless of race, have no idea who those actors are. Which is not to throw shade at them, it just makes it less of a “must see” movie.

      For me, Naomie Harris’ performance in “Moonlight” wasn’t not Oscar nomination material. I think there are any number of black actresses who could have played that role. But Barry Jenkins chose her. That’s his prerogative.
      https://www.thestage.co.uk/features/2016/uk-vs-us-drama-training-different/
      http://www.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/2013/06/from-the-archives-radas-edward-kemp-on-why-british-actors
      http://www.maggieflaniganstudio.com/acting-classes-nyc/crisis-in-american-acting/

  4. Wow. The level of ignorance exhibited by Jackson (and by S&A readers in theses comments) is appalling. So, now the story is that blacks in Europe can’t understand what it means to be black the way black Americans do? As if racism is exclusive to America? As if Europe isn’t the place where black athletes are subjected to racist taunts while they compete? As if bananas being thrown onto soccer fields isn’t a sad occurrence in Europe? As if the reason so many black actors seek work elsewhere isn’t due to the lack of opportunity in their homeland? SMDH. Jackson, and who ever supports him, should be ashamed. Imagine if people told Sidney Poitier and Harry Belefonté that they couldn’t act in America–DURING the fight for civil rights–because they were foreigners. Imagine if people told activists like Stokely Carmichael to sit down and be quiet because he was a foreigner. What if the conversation now shifts to questioning the authenticity of first and second generation black American actors like Danai Gurira or Megalyn Echikunwoke, whose parents and grandparents didn’t experience firsthand the struggle for equal rights in America? Do we tell them to stop taking acting roles, too? When does this type of segregating and separating ourselves end?

    • I really wanted to say how much I agree with Winston. We have to remember we are a people and not restricted to the place the slave ship landed. If anyone must transcend the lines drawn on the map, it’s us.

    • Very well said. This is nothing but tricknology to divide us and create a fake “controversy”. White supremacy is a GLOBAL system and it’s foolish to hate on another Black person because of where they were born.

  5. It’s ironic that nationality is what some black people are choosing to use against other blacks. Sounds a bit Trump-ish, if you ask me. Also ironic is that just months ago, comedian Aries Spears made some controversial statements about Key and Peele, regarding them not being “black enough”, or something to that effect. Now, it would seem, Peele is apparently black enough to make this film, yet his lead actor is not American enough to convey the black American experience effectively. LOL. Some of you people will never be happy in this life; you love to be miserable and complain.

  6. Yes Peggy!!!! Yes!!! And I can Guarantee you that the studios and producers most likely approached British actors during the casting process as they were looking for that “International Dollar”… It’s sad, people don’t recognize an impending problem until it becomes a problem. I couldn’t just go over to London and be interjected into their casting process that’s for sure. And NO British Black don’t and haven’t had the same cultural experiences the way American Blacks have. Our stories are so different which makes our reactions and understandings different (a very important aspect of acting) I don’t get why people can’t see that. SMDH.

  7. While I agree with Sam that American actors should be cast first in American film, especially since Americans aren’t scoring roles across the pond, I do not agree with those of you saying that British Blacks don’t have the same experiences as us. They’ve gone through some situations similar to what we’ve gone through. While their experiences may not have been as extreme or well-known like ours, they’ve still gone through it. To this day, I hear stories of racial tensions and racial inequality over there. Before speaking on THEIR experiences, do some research of your own. You’ll be amazed at what you find out.

    • I don’t understand this idea that priority in casting should be based on nationality. Like any job, in any field, don’t you want it to go to the best possible candidate? Some people in these comments sound like they don’t enjoy the acting performances of Brits as much as that of their American counterparts, solely based on where their passports were issued. It makes no sense.

      For example, how many times have we seen a respected actor like Delroy Lindo deliver memorably exceptional performances, in numerous Spike Lee films and other projects? Isn’t Lindo a Brit? Does it matter that he’s a Brit? Think about his body of work–‘Clockers’, ‘Malcolm X’, ‘Crooklyn’, ‘The Cider House Rules’, and ‘The Chicago Code’, just to name a few. Can you now imagine any of the roles he played in those projects being played by another actor?

      Take an actor like Chiewtel Ejiofor, as another example. Before he got a break as a lead in America, he proved himself to the acting world by doing great work in films like ‘Dirty Pretty Things’ and ‘Kinky Boots’. He didn’t come here and take anybody’s job; he paid dues and earned the chance to show American audiences what he can do, and he’s done an excellent job at it since then.

      Instead of worrying about where an actor was born or raised, first ask yourself if that actor is the best actor for the role played. That’s what matters most.

      • @Winston: You might want to check your facts before posting information. Lindo is Jamaican. He was born and raised in the UK, Toronto and moved the the U.S. by his mid-teens and attended theater school in the U.S.

        • @GHOST he was born in the UK, but yet he is …Jamaican? So by that I guess a person can be born in the US, but yet be…??

  8. OMG, I agree with Jackson. Black british people do not have the same experiences as us. American chattel slavery was vastly different from colonism. They weren’t enslaved in British Proper. They didn’t experience jim crow or james crow (jim crow up north), they weren’t terrorized by the klan. They weren’t locked out of educational opportunities. They weren’t locked out of building wealth. They weren’t lock out of government social programs like the New Deal. They didn’t experience the Drug War. It’s more than being stopped by the police. They don’t experience systematic racism and they can GO HOME if they can’t make it here in western countries. Can African-Americans do the same? No. It’s laughable that people think they experience the same thing or even on the same wave-length. Please.

    And that makes me “Trump-ish” then I will be “Trump-ish”. I don’t care.

    • Look up, everybody . . . it’s an Americanus ignoramus. They call her Katie. Unfortunately, her species is not endangered.

      • Didn’t even deny what I said so now you resort to name calling. Predictable and sad.

      • Winston, you are pathetic. Challenge her argument or take your toys and go home.

    • Are you serious? Do you know anything about the history of Black people in Britain? This same blog linked to a variety of programs that recently aired in the UK as part of the “Black & British” campaign. I suggest you watch those and more importantly READ some books about Black British history before making such ignorant statements. UK Blacks don’t experience systematic racism huh? My God..

      • Like a heart attack. I don’t have to do anything. They weren’t going through the things we went though. They weren’t getting lynched. They weren’t “unrapeable” by the government. They’re children weren’t used a target practice and alligator bait. They weren’t medically experimented on. They didn’t have to sharecrop. Tell me they weren’t through any of those things? Please stop. You go read them since you hold them books in such high esteem. Don’t condescend to me.

        • Katie:
          You need to read up on the history of black people in Britain and the history of racism and colonialism they’re been through. Which you clearly know nothing about,hence your clueless and ignorant rant. Black people in America aren’t the only ones who went through a history of hell with white folks. Do the research,please. Also,David Oyelowo,the star of Selma, has been really outspoken about the fact that black actors in Britain don’t get the same level of roles in film that their white counterparts do,which is why they come to the U.S. (Look up his interviews on the Guardian site about it.) He’s not the only black British actor who’s spoken about it,either. I don’t even see what the big deal is—white Brit actors come to the U.S. all the time and snap up big roles.

    • @Katie ‘Lawd’ you playing right into to age old “divide and rule”. Keep it up 😉

    • I agree with Winston. Under Katie’s logic, a black man like Lil Wayne, for instance, who even grew up in the South, but who says he has never experienced racism in his life, is more qualified than any black Brit actor to play so-called “African-American” roles. So, yes, Katie is an ignoramus.

  9. First it was, “We can’t put you blacks in movies because white southerners won’t like it”, Then it was, “We can’t hire you blacks because whites won’t go see he movie”, Then it was “We can’t put you in the movie because Europeans won’t go see it”. Now it’s, “We can’t hire you because the Black Brits are better than you”. Anyone see a pattern?

    • I agree with your point but I also agree with the “black Brits are better.” And it’s for a simple reason: they’re often classically trained actors. How many black Brit actors are former models, athletes or singers? I’m guessing few to none. How many black Brit actors have actually studied acting and performed on a stage? I’m guessing many if not the majority. It’s the same reason why the majority of blacks at Harvard are foreign born. Non-American blacks have surpassed us in certain areas and we need to acknowledge it and adjust accordingly instead of complaining. There may not be a “British Invasion” but there’s definitely been an increase in black Brits in American tv and film. Instead of relying on their looks like so many American actors do, they rely on genuine talent (like Denzel, Viola and a few others). Former basketball player Rick Fox once said he was pretty enough to be in movies. If that’s someone’s only qualification for being an actor, no wonder the trained Brit actors are getting lots of roles.

      • I’m sorry Marie but this “Brits are better because of classical training”, is bullshit. ALL university drama school train in classical theater. But the question should be WHY do we want those types of trained actors? The highwater mark of film acting was the 70’s with Pacino, Brando, DeNiro,etc. Do you think of Shakespeare when you watch Dog Day Afternoon? Not really and it’s not wrong. Those performers may have done Shakespeare and I think they have, but so what? What made them exciting was their spontaneity, roughness, danger. Not words I would normally use to describe Shakespearean actors. In case people haven’t noticed, this is not the UK. I want American actors doing American acting in American films. Period. If American actors are so bad, why is the American film industry the envy of the world??? The Brit film industry can’t scrape two pennies together for all the “Shakespeare” they are known for, That should tell you something.

        • @Peggy…one question are you even an actor or theatrically/ cinematic trained to be talking about what makes up the desired or correct components, to make a good actor?

          • @BROWNBOMBER – AA screenwriter today, as a kid, took classes with members of the NYC black theater groups in the seventies, in college worked with August Wilson’s theater group. Also worked at the top US media company in the early 2000’s for 10 years.

  10. Instead of fighting over crumbs that Hollywood doles out we need to pool resources by any means necessary to create projects by, for and about “black” people globally. I figure Sam can come up off a few bucks to aid in that cause, and Oprah, and Denzel, and Tyler, and Viola, and Will and, Idris, and Ridley, and …[insert names here].

    • It’s not “fighting crumbs” to advocate for full employment for your people. It’s not and I’m sick of elitist out of touch black people (I hope you not AA) saying this. Have you seen the employment rate for blacks lately? Chiamanda Adiche says she was books for African children by Africans and no one was up in an uproar. But we say the same for our experience in film and now it’s a problem? MAN PLEASE!

      • Katie:
        What are you talking about? Oh so anyone who doesn’t agree with you is an elitist black person? Jackson already stated that his remarks were blown out of proportion,and you’re really gone off the deep end with it. Black Brit actors aren’t taking anybody’s roles—get real. In fact,the actor who stars in Get Out (Daniel Kaluuya) said he could relate to the script because he’s experienced racism in Britain on a regular basis,too. Just so you know,Britain did have slavery until the 1830s—that’s what their empire was built off of,just like the U.S.

    • Well said WHG.. the Nigerians created a massive film industry that is now the 3rd largest in the world. The blueprint is there, but I wouldn’t expect those people you named to participate. They are way too indebted to Hollywood.

  11. I have no problem with Black Brits getting roles here, as long as American Black actors gets the Majority! The reason I believe that is fair bcuz Black American actors would not have the same opportunities abroad so, it is only fair for them to get the majority of the roles here.

  12. I am so disturbed by some of the views being shared here. It goes against everything that S&A is about. All this “us vs. them” is disgusting. This very site is the creation of a black African filmmaker who believes that the work of black actors around the globe is worthy of recognition, and who frequently works with African American contributors who believe the same. All you agitators who seek to undermine that, please exit now.

  13. Well, Samuel L. sure ain’t hurting for work. Brits (except for David Oyelowo, who is overrated to me) get the work because they’re good and as someone else posted, usually classically trained. I’m not mad at ANY Black person getting a role. White Brits get roles here too – Dominic West, Damian Lewis, etc. If not for Brits, we wouldn’t have Idris Elba – oh, did some of you forget he’s British? These days, there’s plenty of work to go around. This is a silly controversy.

  14. It seems most people have missed Sam’s real point and latched onto the more controversial aspect of this argument – except for Peggy’s last comment. The criticism is against Hollywood and their tendency to not hire AAs whether it means rewriting a black role to a different race or just giving the lame (Tim Burton) excuse of “it’s not necessary/the role doesn’t call for it”. Black Brits are being used more as a scapegoat than whether they are more talented. I don’t necessarily believe that they are nor that classical training necessarily makes a better actor [as Sam also says] but that’s another argument. But why assume that most Black Brits have that type of training or the right training and that most AAs don’t? Therein lies another issue: unsubstantiated bias. After all, doesn’t the UK also tend to cast singers or athletes (esp. POC singers or athletes) above those “classically trained” actors? What’s the point of being trained if you rarely if ever get to act? Does that still make you a better actor than someone who has been doing it for years?

    And speaking of unsubstantiated bias – let’s not make the same “model minority” mistake with Africans as we have/had with Asians and Middle-Easterners during the early tech boom. IF the majority of Blacks in Harvard are foreign born that doesn’t mean they have surpassed AAs. As has been mentioned ad nauseam, the types of people who were able to immigrate here and excel academically or have children excel [i.e., the first wave of immigrants from a country or region] came from that portion of their community who could afford to come here, spoke English fluently, and were usually highly educated. Can you say brain drain? Just because they may have driven taxis in the US for a living (because their foreign degrees/licenses weren’t recognized) does not mean they were run of the mill taxi drivers in his/her country of origin. It’s the same type of unsubstantiated bias where Europeans treat AAs as more educated, cultured, and desirable over Africans when, if anything, the types of AAs who tend to travel overseas [and are not in the military or celebrities] are of a small subset of AAs that are usually highly educated and firmly middle class or higher. Now if a bunch of broke ass Pookies from the hood show up in Paris, I guarantee there would definitely be a completely different sentiment toward AAs. Still biased mind you but just showing it flows both ways depending on who people notice the most.

  15. And for those who think American actors of color suck, one word for you, “Hamilton.” A musical that was created in part because actors of color, much like Hollywood, were not being hired on Broadway.

  16. I love Samuel Jackson and i’m disappointed with his comment, we are human being and every people seeks the way to express his talent and goes to America because there is more opportunity.

    Our job is to provide support for black actor without looking where they coming from. I will continue to do that.

    Black community over the world have the same problem , and i find the other black understand what black live in America, they live the same thing.

    In the world we are living, you can’t be ignorant what matter us. We need to take care for what we say about each other, the are many film without black actor, did Samuel figures that they are also many white British actors and actress in Hollywood.

    It’s very good to embrace our blackness, i live in France, white people, don’t make difference, they call every black people African.

    Samuel Jackson is an Hollywood veteran, his chance to be recognized as a great actor come from Spike Lee, Most of blacks great actors and actress had they first role provide by black directors.

    Every black people need to regroup and join force, nothing will be give to us without fight and we can’t start a fight between us.

    We need to find money to make movie who tell our stories live we want, not in caricatural way.

    Being black and proud is more than cinema, more than business, it’s about Soul, it’s about respect for ourselves. I have never seen any difference between me and any other black people in this world.

    We need to end mental slavery and consider that we can do many thing like we always used to do. I have a dream that every black people find a job in this world, actors and actress aren’t the only persons are concerned by unemployment. We need to say strong we can’t collapse. I’m working to organize an international convention about Afro descendant cinema, like i say we need to join force to find more opportunity, not only wait after Hollywood, before British actors and actress, Hollywood discriminates black African Actors and actress and it continues.

    Many black people are facing reality of hard life. Black people in equal work earn that white people for example in America, white people earn 30% more than black people in salary.

    We need to be careful what we say because people are always going to use that for deny our legitimate claims.

    We need more role not only in North America, in European country, in Africa,in South America, in Asia, in Oceania, all over the world where they are black people.

    I’m writing a long article like last about diversity on TV and cinema, the year i made a focus on why we have still struggled to be represented and i talk about being a black kid with really see my representation on a tone of movie who are on the air now or was made on the past year. This is made me figure how is a deep problem, who isn’t on the ways to be solved.

    I Wish every people the best, keep focus and fight, a change will come. Never give up.

    • I don’t think that Sam has a problem with black Brit actors in general. Just as long as they play themselves or other nationalities. However, he has a problem if they play AA because they do not take into consideration the real life experiences of AA.

      On the flip side, some of us on here myself included do not like when AA actors play other nationalities. We go for bat to get an actor who is from that country to play the role. Can anyone say Will Smith’s bad Nigerian accent in Concussion? Or Denzel’s bad Bahamian accent or was it Jamaican accent in The Mighty Quinn? All I know it was very bad! AA actors usually insult the nationalities that they play. They never get the nuances down to play other nationalities.

      • “… as long as they play themselves …”? Really? What kind of logic is that with regard to ACTING? So, should studios only cast actual aliens from outer space to portray aliens from outer space?

        • @Winston
          I’m repeating what Sam Jackson said in the interview. He had a problem with black Brits playing AA characters because they don’t take the real life experiences into consideration when they play AA characters. He believes that AA actors bring the real life experiences to their AA characters. So you please take up your questions with Sam Jackson.
          Why didn’t you have a problem with the rest of my comments?

      • Troublemaker:
        What an ignorant statement—-so you’re basically saying that AA actors can’t play other nationalities? That is so ridiculous,because they do it all the time. And you make it sound like black British actors can’t relate
        to AAs at all. They get exposed to black American culture all the time—that’s why they’re good at playing American roles. Our culture isn’t that foreign to them—hell,they speak English just like we do. Also,check out an old film of Denzel’s called For Queen And Country,in which he plays a black British soldier struggling to fit back into society— he does a really good Brit accent throughout the entire film. The movie is a pretty good film noir in its own right too.
        And Hollywood actors in general don’t get accents right half the time,so to single out two black actors which accents you didn’t like and claim that black actors in general can’t do accents is really ignorant. Actors are trained to do whatever they have to do in order to get the role across,period—accents included. White actors certainly don’t have a claim on doing better accents than anyone.

        • Most AA actors that do foreign accents, do a very bad job. Yes, most AA actors should stay away from playing foreign accents unless they have invested the time and effort to perfect the nuances involved with playing the character including perfecting the accent. Forest Whitaker did a really good job playing a Brit and a Ugandan. So much so that he gets praise from Brits and Ugandans alike for doing an excellent job in not only perfecting the accents but also picking the nuances involved with the characters. Yes he should be a go to for playing foreign accents. Idris Elba also did a good job with an American accent in The Wire. So much so that everyone was shocked that he was a Brit. He should be a go to also. These are not the norm in Hollywood. Most American actors in general are really bad at accents. Most Hollywood American actors should stay away from playing foreign characters!

          My problem is the notion that all AA actors can play a foreigner and do good accents. The same with black Brits playing AA characters and AA accents. Only a selected few should be doing them and I listed two.
          P.S. I will try to watch Denzel in Queen and Country but I’m not holding my breath at his accent!

  17. I don’t believe SLJ’s comments were divisive. He’s got a perspective that we don’t have. So if he has some stuff he needs to get off his chest, as a hard-working, veteran; I say go ahead.

    A lot of folks here are coming across as delicate little snowflakes. SLJ didn’t say anything new or controversial. Blacks around the world are dealing with racism. It’s just that there is such a thing as the Black American experience, the Black Briton experience, the Haitian experience, etc…

    It’s true AA are not afforded the same luxury of waltzing into the UK and snatching a key black role. In the US, there is no honest effort in creating the next Black American star whereas each year there’s a new crop of young white actors being groomed and made into stars. For Black American actors, it’s the same veterans holding it down mostly in their 60s/70s (SLJ, Denzel, Morgan Freeman, Lawrence Fishburne,…). Where is the next Will Smith? Jamie Foxx showed potential but fizzled. The hottest black American star at the moment is Kevin Hart (very sad on many levels).

    It’s not a matter of infighting. If something is rubbing him the wrong way, SLJ has every right to speak up. When you have classically-trained AA actors that are not given the respect/chances/consideration that they’ve worked for, when you have black American actors being overlooked for plump AA roles, someone is bound to ask questions. There’s nothing wrong with voicing your concerns.

    Those of you who can’t see what SLJ is referring should honestly consider whether you are subconsciously choosing to be disingenuous.

    P.S. – There have been more then a dozen recent movies ruined by Brits ****of all hues*** trying to sell an American accent. They just snatch you right out of the movie with their dubious attempt.

  18. What Sam Jackson said wasn’t any different than what white American actors had been saying about white Brits and Australian actors getting more roles that were written for Americans. Even the white American audience complained when they saw the 3 most famous American superheroes were all being played by Brits! That’s why Hollywood reacted so fast by getting Ben Affleck to play Batman!

    Sam is basically saying that black Brits are willing to play AA roles for very cheap! While AA actors demand equal pay to their white counterparts, qualified black Brit actors will do the same role that is offered to an AA actor for a two piece and a biscuit! No fries and soda included! Black Brit actors can’t get work in the UK and when they do, they don’t really get pay. So they come over here to work and they work for very cheap. What American business that doesn’t love cheap labor? Especially qualified talent at very cheap prices? It’s the American way!

    Another thing is the studios love to use Brits because they can get funding from the British Government which has some grant in place where points is given if British lead actors, directors, producers and production companies are used. Based on that point system, American studios can tap into British funding and also funding from the E.U. You know there is always money involved when they bring in the Brits. I don’t know what’s going to happen since Brexit. Hollywood wouldn’t be able to tap into the funds from the EU because the Brits chose to leave the EU. However, the Brit funding is still there. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    The majority of black American audience really haven’t warmed up to the idea of Brit actors playing AA roles. The only exception is Idris Elba. The women love them some Idris Elba! I think the problem is majority of the black Brits look down on AA in general and think they are better and more qualified. Also, a lot of them are biracial or married/dating white people and they would rather associate with the white Americans than with the black Americans. The exception again is Idris Elba. He really tries to reach out to the black American audience by going to talk to them at colleges, in black magazines and shows/radios. He even married a black American and have dated several black Americans women. The others go after the white audience because like I said they are either biracial or married/dating white people.
    Another thing that Sam mentioned is that these black Brits don’t know the nuances of an AA and they play them without considering their experiences. A black director has to tell them what to do. He would rather have an AA actor play the AA roles because they bring real life experiences by simply being born and raise in America.

  19. @D. TROUBLEMAKER – You raise many interesting points. Lots of Black Brits love to mention how race relations are different in the UK and that interracial dating is not as big a deal as it is in the US. But when it’s time to make their case for hot HWD roles written for AA, the go-to argument becomes: “We are all one. We are all the same. Stop this infighting. Let’s focus on what’s important.”

    • Let me also add that if a black Brit’s parents or grandparents are from the West Indies or Africa,they will still refer themselves as totally British because they were born and raised in the UK. They would never claim or even acknowledge their West Indian or African roots. You basically have to put a gun to their heads for them to acknowledge or claim their roots. However, if a black American has West Indian or African roots, they will always acknowledged or claim their parents or grandparents roots even though they were born and raised here.

      Like I said before, black Brits will marry/date white and are very quick to assimilate to the white standards. Hence the major difference between AA and black Brits. Also, like a lot of other folks mentioned, black Brits are never willing to fight for their rights like AA and are always willing to accept any and everything!

      • Damn @D.Troublemaker I know you like to stir it up.;-) and usually I don’t bother with you. But in relation to this specific article, you speak ‘facts’ like Trump, mate!

        You presume to tell whole bunch of black Brits about how they identify their heritage. I have to wonder which generation of Black Brits you are speaking of?? Because most Black Brits do exactly the opposite of what you claim they do. They are always quick to acknowledge Nigerian, Ghanaian, Jamaican, Trinidadian roots etc.

        You also use the black/white relationship like stick to beat Black Brits with. Many a Black Brit in the 60’s/70’s caught hell for falling a white person, in every aspect of the daily existence. But again you speak ‘facts’ like Trump, mate!

        The one actual fact you do have right is Black Brits have never fought for their rights in a similar manner or on the same scale as their African American counterparts.

        That last part you got right. You get absolutely no disagreement with me on that. 😉

        • No I don’t like stirring things up! I state my opinions and most of the times, I say things people don’t want to hear but I say them anyway.

          I’m stating my experience with black Brits. It’s a difference when black Brits communicate with other black Brits. They will acknowledge their heritage because they know that they can fool another black Brit but when they communicate with other nationalities, they claim only to be British. I remember a black Brit politician was complaining in an article when white Americans come over to the UK and asked her where she was from. She said she was born in the UK. She was upset because they didn’t accept her answer. She just refused to say that her parents or grandparents were immigrants! Ask an AA the same question and he/she will say the state and if their parents were immigrants. That’s the difference between black Brits and AAs.

          Black Brits in general are more desperate to marry white than AAs. I remember there was a black Brit businessman who shared an incident that happened to him in the UK. He went to an exclusive party and he showed up with his black wife, the white folks were shocked. A black Brit male with a black Brit female? Shocking!

          I would love to see more black actors that are born and live in Africa in Hollywood movies. I prefer them over black Brits actors any day. I particularly don’t care for the majority of black Brit actors with the exception of a few because most of them look down on AA actors and AA in general!

  20. Black British actors need to get on a boat back to ‘Merry Old England’ and fight the power, who that power is ? Williams Shakespeare’s Ghost

    African American actors fought Hollywood ‘tooth and nail’ eighties years for inclusion, still not there yet, now they got to fight BB actors, oh hell naw, AA actors done tired of fighting.

    • @Mark and Darla “get on a boat back to’ … You do remember how black people came to the Americas, right? Yeah, ‘don’t let the door hit you’, and ‘please don’t choke on any crow’ two proverbial sayings I think you could do well to remember from our older generation, who came before, and ‘fought tooth, and nail’ 🙁

      • So what!! we got here on a boat and ‘fight the power’ so every accomplishments AA actors earn belong to them and they don’t have to share with BB actors. ????

        AND I WILL SAY IT AGAIN, BB actors get on a boat back to ENGLAND and ‘fight the power’ a being afraid and lazy.

        African Americans in this generation is still fighting to keep past generation accomplishments relevant.

        • All I can say,read up on racism in Britain and how black people have had to fight for their rights over there,too—it’s amazing how you and some others on here don’t know anything about black Brit history,or their struggles with racism,even today. Look it up,please. And telling them go back to where they came from—really? You stooped to going there? For real? Talk about complete ignorance,I swear.

          • I confess, to being completely ignorant.???? What’s my punishment, live in Council Housing.

  21. You know what I saw the article about the furore last week. I was sadly disappointed in Sam Jackson, but not the least bit surprised. (He made a very similar comment about David Oyelowo, re Selma) He is a ‘call as I see it’ guy. But he has also made himself a bit of a hypocrite now. You ask why?

    Well, check Sam’s IMDB credits or actual films over than the last several years, and the ones due to be released. There is an almost even mix between American based productions/UK and Int’l. He is a benefiting from the ‘ we need a black american box office star’ for our production. He has earned the right to corner that market. But at the same time that could be perceived as to the detriment of black UK actors. That is, Sam is seen box office guarantee, and it is possibly justified as ‘it’s more believable to audience, that the black antagonist or villain in an UK or Int’l movie, is more likely to be American, because black american’s actually to have tangible wealth and societal achievements in America that an Int’l audience is aware of, and do not have to be explained to them. I say that, to say this. He is also playing a pawn in cycle of cinematic perception e.g Kingsman: The Secret Service, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Legend of Tarzan, and The Hitman’s Bodyguard, where in the subtext he is the face of contention, who is American, and Black. At this point it is not a ‘major’ issue. But if he continues to play this in at least another ‘four’ movies, then there is definite pattern forming. That someone like himself, who generally come across and socially conscious, should be making note of that effect on Int’l audiences perception of Black America (or are we asking too much for him to take on that role of self examination) 🙂

    However, for me personally the most disappointing about the snippet of the interview that is available, is his reference to “they are much cheaper” the tone with which he said that, and even something about them be better trained. It just reminded me of your current man in the White House …very sad!! Its divide and rule tactic, he just unwillingly played into. Or was it unwillingly??

    Funny thing is though. I have never heard anyone extol the virtues of Sam, in the industry. Don’t get me wrong. He is known as ‘Sam da Man’ because he is the consummate actor, and always over delivers in every good way.

    The snippet of interview does smack of tinge of pettiness, when you check out his body language towards the end. After all, he is the hardest working black actor of his calibre (Rock is in a whole different category, before anyone disputes) But just some ‘black brit’ took one of Sam’s “hard earned” roles!!!

  22. I saw “Get Out” and loved it, but that Black Brit Daniel Kaluuya was just ok in the lead part. The real star of the movie was the actor/comedian who played his best friend, the TSA agent and his saviour at the end of the movie. Kaluuya’s part could and should’ve been played by an AA actor.

  23. And it’s not just happenning for black actors. Isn’t E´mma Watson plaing Belle?

    There are Danes and British people all over Hollywood taking roles away from white Americans.

    There needs to be more an better roles and positions in the film industry, on a whole, for people of color. Their nationality is irrelevant. Remember when someone said that Lupita Nyong’o couldn’t play a slave on an American planatation? Isn’t it called, “acting” and weren’t the slaves from Africa?

  24. You all need to understand the true fact. No and I mean None of those actors will be able to hold American Black actors Jock Straps! WHY? cause American Black Actors will never surrender the edge that they are born with by simply being born in the USA. It’s automatic. They will never be able to deliver that glowing powerful performances of a Denzel, or Viola, or Bassett, or many others. it’s not a go back home type of choice. You would have to be born here to be able to bring some the performances that bubble up. stuff that happens to the average Black American on a daily basis informs the performances they bring to the screen. The Blacks from Britain will be very good in their roles, even cute but never devastating, never heart stopping. it’s just a fact the way it is the rule of measure as right now as we speak some Black American who is a friend of well known actor is being detained at a routine traffic stop in Mississippi and sweating bullets cause they know what the out come will be. all that comes into play. A lot the actors from abroad will be one hit wonders in terms of delivery in a film but they will have to go back to the drawing board to hone their craft and try and learn to bring that other “SHIT” into their work to stand on the level of American actors.

  25. I spoke about the actress Khandi Alexander and it is known in true acting circles that there was a time and I am sure she could still but there was a time when She beat the pants off of Angela Bassett in terms of sheer artistic performances. But look where she came from Negro Ensemble company and Crossroads superior trained but she is one of many out there, I hear stories from serious actors that the woman who played Aunt Ester on Sandford & Son’s was such a fierce actress no one wanted to do scenes with her cause she was just a badass in terms of her skill sets when the camera was turned on. We have an undeniable edge that we didn’t ask for as Black American Actors due to all the horrors we went through in the historical perspectives. They (The Brits ) are the new shiny candy but we got the real deals here. One last point there is none and will be no Black British equivalent of Cecily Tyson or Ruby Dee. Go back and take a look at the Movie Cotton Club, Watch the sheer artistry of Gregory Hines or the Nicolas Bros. Sorry folks some things can’t be replaced or duplicated

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